My very first blog was about the COVID-19 pandemic and the new normal that we have come to realise. Today, I want to discuss about the devastation caused in our country due to the pandemic. As much as I like doing positive and helping posts, this post is important because it is always crucial to understand what you did wrong to make it right.
The nationwide lockdown announced on March 24, 2020 – widely described as the harshest in the world – was clearly an inexpedient and impetuous decision. A nation of 1.3 Billion people was brought to a halt with a four-hour notice. The dreadful sights of thousands of migrant workers walking hundreds of miles without food or water are still fresh. The unpreparedness of the government is conspicuous from the fact that India issued “well over 4,000 different rules” during the first two months of the lockdown, as estimated by The Economist magazine. The article from June 13 edition of the magazine has been reproduced below for a better representation.
While the lockdown was necessary, it should have been carefully targeted and curated for our country. In most other countries, there were some transportation means kept open for the public to reach their homes, measures taken so that the supply chains were not disrupted and other ancillary actions to minimize the economic and social damage. Although banging thalis and lighting diyas might have arguably provided a sense of unity, but on most other parts, it was as if the government had taken a back foot during the entire lockdown. Despite shutting down the entire economy, India is the worst-affected Asian country with the number of cases over 3 million (accounting to almost 15% of the total cases in the world).
Even after the country started opening, the exit from the lockdown has not been calibrated. With the state governments imposing various different rules their own states and little to no intervention of the Central government, the supply chains have not been able to fully recover. The Economy has been badly mauled by the lockdown and continues to be affected in the absence of a joint and calibrated efforts from the central and state governments. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated a contraction of 4.5% of the Indian Economy.
In these past few months, hearing the economists estimate the fall in GDP has become so common that some of us tend to lose perspective of what the contraction actually means. To put it all in reference, let me share with you how the contraction of GDP affects the poverty. According to a working paper by the United Nations University – World Institute for Development Economics Research, three scenarios of 5%, 10% and 20% contraction in global GDP are considered. The affects are represented in the infographic below:
Even though the policies have been ever changing but our government has continuously issued SOPs and guidelines that worked in other parts of the world. The life vs livelihood debate has been going on all over the world, but it is time that we understand that imposing stringent lockdowns are not the solution to this grim problem. It is time that we understand that in order to solve one problem we cannot ignore the other problem rising alongside raising major concerns about the livelihood of all of us.
So, I would urge you to think and act on how you can contribute to tackle the pandemic without adversely affecting the economy because let’s face it, if either problem persists, nobody comes out unscathed.
I tried to keep this post more informative and less opinionated because I wanted you guys to know all the facts and think on how you can contribute to come out of this crisis. Do share this post with your friends and family.